The accounts of Democrats collapsing in sobs of grief and engaging in public fits of screaming were legion following the election of Donald Trump in 2016.
But a new study concludes the expressions and claims of mental distress have been embellished.
Published in the journal SAGE Open, according to the website Study Finds, the researchers concluded many Democrats were likely over-reporting their stress or mental health issues as “a form of partisan cheerleading.”
Researchers Masha Krupenkin, David Rothschild, Shawndra Hill and Elad Yom-Tov compared online searches to public surveys.
“Clearly, many Democrats were, and are, upset about the Republican victory in 2016; these findings do not invalidate those feelings but put their depth and related actions into perspective,” the researchers said.
But the authors argued a person’s actions in private reveal their true condition.
The study determined their true condition by evaluating private search terms.
Study Find explained: “A person who might describe suffering psychological distress on social media or to their friends, but doesn’t search for any type of help or relief, is more likely showing a form of reverse cheerleading.”
The researchers examined more than 1 million Bing searches by Democrats, Republicans and Spanish-speaking Latinos from before and after the election.
They looked for specific mental health-related search terms such as depression, anxiety, stress, suicide/suicidal and therapy.
They also sought out searches for antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
The findings then were compared to previously reported public surveys about how voters felt after the election.
“We find that while Democrats expressed serious mental distress about the election result on surveys, on average, the Democrats in our sample did not show an increase in mental health-related searches after the election,” the authors wrote.
They concluded Democrats were no more likely to search for stress relief and treatment for mental illness after the election than before it.
“This suggests that some Democrats reported mental health declines after Trump’s election as a form of reverse cheerleading, where partisans report evaluations that are more negative than their true beliefs to reflect badly on a president of the opposing party.”
The researchers noted a 2016 Gallup poll indicating Republicans seem less interested in partisan cheerleading.
It found Democrats reported higher levels of stress after the 2016 election, but Republicans didn’t.
Significantly, after the 2008 election of Barack Obama, Republicans similarly showed no increase in stress.